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August 16, 2005

Gary Player


JOHN BUSH: We'll get it started here. We'd like to welcome Mr. Gary Player. Thank you for coming and spending a few minutes with us. Obviously a lot going on this week, a lot of meetings with your team for The Presidents Cup. Just get your take on how everything is shaping up for the team. Obviously you've named your two captain's choices yesterday. Talk a little bit about the team and how everything is going.

GARY PLAYER: Well, I'm excited about our team. I think we have players that have been playing very consistently around the world. Obviously with Ernie Els not being on the team is a big shock and it's a big loss, obviously. He was really one of our anchors, so to speak.

I visited him in London two days ago on my way over here and had a cup of tea with him and he was really frustrated sitting in front of that television not being able to do much. But he's recovering very quickly I'm happy to say.

But we've got to move on now, and I think our team is a good team, fellows that have been playing well. You know, it's one week of your life, so you just have to hope you're on form that particular week. It's very much like going to the school to get your card. You've got to hope you're playing well that particular week.

Playing on American soil obviously is an advantage of Jack's team. I think the fact that they've never lost, if I am correctly saying, on three occasions they haven't lost on American soil. So it's a mammoth task. I'd love to have Ernie Els on the team, but you cannot look back, as I say. It's going to be a great event.

I think Nicklaus having said recently it was the greatest event of his life, The Presidents Cup in South Africa, was a great compliment for The Presidents Cup. I was obviously enthralled and excited about the fact that it was played in South Africa because it really helped our golf, it really helped our country, it helped our tourism. It gave me an opportunity to watch a lot of young guys that I never really watched and played with in my career, so it's terrific to be around these young guys, the enthusiasm, all looking forward to the Presidents Cup.

I'm very pleased with my two picks. The guys are both very excited about playing, and I think that's a big thing is to have the enthusiasm and want to play and want to play badly, and I think that the team spirit on our team is very good so far.

JOHN BUSH: Let's just discuss a little bit about obviously the last event and the motivation for you and the team to win this year.

GARY PLAYER: You know, when we play golf, it's always difficult to speak for other people, but when I played for a dollar Nassau, I wanted to win. That's what I practiced for, that's why I went to the gym, that's why I watched my diet, that's why I traveled more miles than any human being ever, to play hard and wanting to win. That becomes part of your system. Obviously we'd like to win The Presidents Cup. It would be a great thrill, particularly to be able to beat them on American soil.

Jack and I, you know, really emphasized the point, which we repeatedly said, that it's got to be played in the true spirit of the game. The Ryder Cup went through a phase where it was never actually I never even turned on the TV to watch it, "a war on the shore," "this guy hates that guy," the television announcers saying he doesn't like this guy, he hates that guy, Europeans slow playing the game, and then with Justin Leonard holing the putt and aunties and grannies running on the green before Olazabal had a chance to hole a putt. If he holes a putt they win the Ryder Cup.

Payne Stewart, what a wonderful person he was, if I'm correct, on the last hole he said to Montgomery, he was so frustrated at the remarks and the way that the people were behaving and with flags, you know, we never saw that kind of thing. We never saw people at tournaments waving flags. It was a match between two great allies. The two greatest allies in the world are Britain and the United States, and of course the Europeans came into the scene at a later stage, or after September 11th, it was a different Ryder Cup, it was a great respect amongst the players and the galleries and it was great to see it being played in the true spirit of the game.

Jack and I emphasized this from day one, when we were both captains, that we want to win but we want to win in the right way. We're not going to hear captains or players saying that it's a war because there's a hell of a difference between a golf match and a war. We are delighted in the spirit that it was played at Fancourt and on prior occasions.

I think The Presidents Cup has really been a great role model for young golfers watching, and I put great emphasis on young people watching the Ryder Cup because when you sit in your lounge as a young kid and you're seeing this unruliness, it's a role model, and they think, well, this is part of the game. This is something we've got to watch in sports because there's an abundance of money, and I have no objection to that, it's terrific, as long as you fulfill your responsibility to that amount of money.

So, I mean, it's very important that these big events are played in the correct spirit of the game I believe, and Jack endorses it.

Q. How do you think all the change of attitudes and media and crowds and everything came about? Do you think it was 9/11 or could you sense it before that?

GARY PLAYER: You know, I remember watching the Ryder Cup when it was America against Britain, and you had, going back to probably the greatest striker of the ball that ever lived not probably, definitely was the best striker of the ball that ever lived, Ben Hogan, there was never a more fierce competitor than Ben Hogan and I remember watching Sam Snead and Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret and watching them play, and it was done in such a great sportsmanlike atmosphere. They wanted to win. When I played with Arnold and Jack, I wanted to beat them as much as they wanted to beat me. When you lost you looked the guy in the eye and you said, "Well done, I'll get you next week," and it was terrific. It was a massive change, and I don't know why this change took place. It's a very odd thing to say why something in history changes, but there was a remarkable change in the game. I don't know whether it's money. I don't know whether it's I can't pinpoint it, but there was a massive change, and I mean, I used to get embarrassed. I mean, honestly I'd get embarrassed if I watched the Ryder Cup. It was just ugliness. It wasn't a great sporting event. You watch The Presidents Cup not The Presidents Cup, you watched the PGA last week. I say, let the best man win, and there's Phil Mickelson and a host of guys in there fighting it out, and it's terrific to watch it.

I think Phil will just be he's a terrific young man, terrific. Now, there's a man who really is setting a great example for youngsters to come along and follow, great family man, behaves well, terrific, and I think this is very important in team events and golf in general. I think Tiger Woods is a tremendous young man, the way he's always got a great smile in defeat and victory and distresses well, behaves well, speaks well. These are essential ingredients in the sport, and I must say, in golf we have this. In golf we have a lot of things that are very good today.

I mean, you take the Raising the Billion. More money than football and basketball and baseball put together do. I mean, it's remarkable that they can be associated with this Billion Drive, which will happen, I believe, this year.

But I can't tell whether change suddenly happened, but I think we're going back. We're going back to where we were now. I noticed a remarkable change after September 11th and the last Ryder Cup was terrific. There was none of that boisterous craziness that wasn't part of the correct competitive spirit.

Q. Do you think it's up to elder statesmen such as yourself, Jack, Arnold, to kind of lead that way?

GARY PLAYER: Definitely. I think a captain's role I think it's imperative that a captain tell his players how he wants them to behave. If you lose, too bad, guys, we're going to try our heart out. If we lose, we lose. There's only two options, win or lose, or you can draw, mind you (laughter), and for the draw to take place to me is a miracle. I mean, you're playing all of these matches, you end up in a tie, it's a miracle. That was the miracle we needed in South Africa, thank God it happened. But I think it's up to the captain to say, look I remember one captain saying this is the "war on the shore" in the Ryder Cup, and man, that started it. When you say this is "the war on the shore," I thought, "man alive, that's a bad thing to say." Only my opinion, however. I could be wrong in my assessment of what has actually transpired.

Q. I think that was the organization that came up with that slogan. That makes me wonder if it wasn't if you look, the players get on with each other it seems like in the Presidents Cup and the Ryder Cup. I wonder if the income from such events reaches such a level that you need to promote it as a war, if you will.

GARY PLAYER: Well, I think that's a shame if you have to do that because it isn't a war. You know, if you have a brother like myself who went to the last world war at the age of 16, and he's not a golfer and he turns around to says to me I see these guy saying this is a war. Have they any idea what they're talking about? Do these guys know what war is? If you're going to say something, you're literally saying it's a war.

But the thing is that I don't know, I can't say where it came from. I really cannot say where it came from. I just don't think it's necessary, because as I say, we are so used to wanting to win. If you play for a dollar, you don't have to bill it as a war, whatever you want to. I disagree with all the players that got on that well. I mean, Mark James was certainly not telling you that he was getting on well with guys, was he, if you remember correctly. I don't want to repeat what he said, but there it was. So not necessarily true.

As I say, I might be an old poop that just believes in those things (laughing).

Q. If I could ask you about your team, without belittling the importance of Ernie Els, who's been known as a great man, but what do you have as a team without him in that the last time he played at RTJ, he didn't win a single point, Mickelson didn't at Fancourt. Both were having kind of tough years. You want Ernie there because he is who he is, but are you that much less without him?

GARY PLAYER: Well, you know, you understand golf. I mean, one week you're a champ, the next week you're a chump. How many times have you said, well, I've got it, and the next day you go out and you shoot 74. That's the fascination. I think it's irrelevant the fact that he didn't win or that he might have won, and to repeat what you said, those points, that's 100 years ago. You've got to think of what's happening at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. I mean, I would love to have him on my team. He can't go on forever, he's got to win some, he's such a good player.

But, you know, I think that golf teaches you so much in life that you can't look back, and this is the one thing that I'm not going to harp on with my team. This is the team, get in there. Yeah, we miss Ernie and I've asked Ernie to come over and be with us and I'd like him to be with us. It's not a short way, it's a long way to come for an event to sit and watch, and whether he'll come or not, I don't know, but I sincerely hope he does.

No, we've got to go ahead. The thing that I like about my team is that they've all played around the world. I've always said that any young man who doesn't get his card in the United States should go play in Europe for a year. It's the best thing he can do to get away from being spoilt, as you are over here, and go over there and play in some lousy weather and to learn to have to hit a 6 iron from 115 yards instead of Ray Charles type of golf. You say it's 150, give me the 8 iron. It's 170 today you can play golf with lousy eyes and play. You know exactly what distance you hit a club. You go to Britain and you play over there as we see in these Open Championships. You've got 120 yards and you're chipping it like that with a 6 iron into the wind. It teaches you to maneuver the ball and play such a variety of shots, and people said to me, how the heck did this guy Campbell win the U.S. Open? I haven't been seeing him play very well lately. I said, well, that was the kind of golf course that he learned to play a lot of those kind of shots in Britain. That was just the test that he had, and he came through smelling like a rose, just doing fantastic and using that experience that he had. It was a great benefit to him. There's no question with Michael Campbell winning at Pinehurst, it was a great benefit, the fact that he played a lot in Europe and around the world, and Jack and all your great superstars, if you take a Nicklaus, a Palmer, Trevino, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, a Sam Snead, they went over and they played under these conditions and realized it's a different game.

Q. Have you settled on a vice captain yet?

GARY PLAYER: You know, I asked Nicky Price to be the vice captain, and he felt that, you know I spoke to his management yesterday. He was in Mexico and I couldn't get a hold of him, but they eventually did and they said that he really tried hard to make the team. He wanted to make the team, and it was such a letdown not making the team that he'd like to be excused from being vice captain. So I've got a call into somebody right now, I'll be waiting, he's on the plane and he's coming and we'll know in a little while.

Q. At the press conference at RTJ earlier this year, it was pretty clear that you had indicated that your team at the time, which you presumes the team would be, would be the favorite, and that the U.S. would be the underdog. I think that's exactly what I think both you and Jack agreed with that. How much does the loss of Ernie change that?

GARY PLAYER: I don't think we're favorites anymore, no. I would say that the U.S. are definitely favorites now.

Playing on your home ground and looking at the team that Jack has, the guys that qualified, the team that they have, I would say they're probably slight favorites at the moment with Ernie Els out, as well. I think that makes a very big difference when you've got one of your two anchor men out of the team.

Q. Will your approach then be different with the team than it would have been maybe if you had had Ernie on the team and been a favorite?

GARY PLAYER: Well, I think you've got to wait until the time comes. We're still talking about over a month. You know, a lot can happen to fellows' games in a month. So I'll get there early. I asked the guys on my team that I met with to get there early, and we'll see how they're playing.

I come back to what I originally said. It's basically four days. It's four days. Are you playing well those four days? That timing is awfully important.

Q. I wanted to get off the subject for a second, but last week there was a 650 yard hole, this week 667. You seem to feel pretty strong about you don't kind of like the current state of golf. How do you feel about the lengthening of these holes?

GARY PLAYER: Well, again, you know, it's just a matter of opinion, and I just think it's so sad. I went to the Open Championship this year, and you're watching the British Open, the oldest major championship in the world and they're driving six par 4s. They're driving six par 4s. One of the leading it was just the most shocking statement I had heard in a long time, one of the leading manufacturers of a golf ball turned around the other day, and he said, the reason why the ball is going further, these guys are better athletes than they were in the past. Would you like to see Arnold Palmer arm wrestle Tiger Woods when they were both at their best? Let me tell you something, Arnold Palmer would have beaten Tiger Woods in an arm wrestle. When Arnold Palmer was a young man he lifted a gold bar in South Africa that no human being had done ever. We visited a gold mine and we had a billion dollars in gold stacked up, and somebody said anybody who can pick this bar can have it. Arnold said ask him if I can give it a try, and he did it. This guy's eyes got that big. He said, "I only work here." Arnold said, "you did work here (laughter)." For somebody to tell me, honest to goodness, for somebody who is a leading manufacturer in the ball to turn around and say guys are better because they're better athletes, do you think that anybody was stronger than Jack Nicklaus? His damn thighs measured 29 inches. That's the size of my waist. No wonder he hit the damn ball so far. He had two of these hanging down there. Those are tree trunks. To tell me they're better athletes is baloney. How about George Bayer? George Bayer was the biggest man that ever played golf. He was as strong as a lion. If you gave George Bayer the equipment today with the ball we have today, he would have hit it over 400 yards. I watched him do a long driving competition in Australia once, and he averaged 320 with a lousy old wooden head and a steel shaft and the head of the driver was that big. I picked up a driver I won a major championship with the other day. It was a wooden head, it was that size and I had a wooden shaft that thick, and the head at the bottom went "boingggggg," and I had a marble insert, and I thought "is this what I won tournaments with and I hit a ball with it," and I took my Callaway, this driver, and I hit it 55 yards further.

So, I mean, where are we going? This guy Victor Schwamkrug on the Nationwide Tour hit 50 drives over 400 yards last year. Tiger Woods hit a driver 397 at the Championship, Angel Cabrera hit one way over 400 yards, and they didn't even record it. I told Peter in 30 years time you'll have a Tour of Michael Jordans, Shaq O'Neals; we've never seen a big man other than George Bayer. He's the only man that was really big. I said they're going to hit the ball over 400 yards in 40 years' time. We're only 20 or 30 years out. They did a lot of drives over 400 yards at St. Andrews.

The guy in the long driving competition on The Golf Channel the other day said if you don't hit it 390 you don't even qualify. You don't qualify for the drive off if you don't hit it 390. Those are the kind of people that are coming into golf, guys.

I mean, I am a tremendous Tiger Woods fan, but in 30 years' time they'll turn around, I don't know if any of us will be you will, but they'll turn around and say that Tiger Woods was a marvelous golfer but he was a pea shooter off the tee. I swear that's going to happen, and Tiger would be the first to admit it, that in 30 years' time they're going to hit the ball 60 yards further than they hit it now. That is just a fact. Because you haven't had these guys come out yet, and these guys are now saying "why should I get smashed to pieces in football and other sports and be out of the game when I'm 32 when here's a guy like Tiger Woods making hundreds of millions and he'll play until he's 70?" It doesn't make sense.

And Tiger, thank God, Tiger and Vijay Singh are playing a massive role, to me a massive role, I cannot put the emphasis on it, of what they're doing for the sport, bringing other people that never played golf into the arena. When Tiger and Vijay go to South Africa and you find all these black kids sitting there with their TV sets, saying No. 1 and No. 2. Never in my lifetime were the two best players now the two best players in the world are black. Look at the money they're making. Look at what I can achieve.

Tiger goes into Taiwan and gets the people there and he goes around the world, and they're doing a tremendous service to golf because overhead is vanity and profit is sanity. Most golf courses lose money, not make money, so we've got to have a vacuum that's going to be filled by members of the future. There's a lot of golf courses being built around the world.

Q. How much do you think that gold bar weighed?

GARY PLAYER: You know, I don't know, but it's just you know how heavy you pick up a little gold watch. Can you imagine this gold bar? It would slip right off, and Arnold grabbed it Arnold's hands, if you ever saw Arnold's forearm here and his hands, I mean, it's like I've always said one day there would be a combination of a George Bayer in height, Jack Nicklaus legs and Arnold Palmer forearms, and it's coming.

If you look back into the great football coaches of the past, they never even had dumbbells in their gymnasium. Now these guys, those teams would finish dead last in the league. These guys run through brick walls now. They're building bionic men.

Q. Did you ever try and pick it up?

GARY PLAYER: No, I didn't even waste my time (laughter).

So, you know, to say why won't they just admit it, that I stand there and I do a demonstration at all the golf clinics I do, and I take my sand iron, and I say "look at that club face. The paint is white. You'll never use the ball again." I mean, I personally I don't know where we're going with golf. This trampoline effect, big heads, lightweight shafts, balls that are going for a golf manufacturer to not admit that it's going 50 yards minimum further, he's just being deceitful. He's not telling the truth because I know that with the combination of the metal head, the lightweight shaft and the ball, it goes a minimum of 50 to 60 yards further. I mean, you see it on the Champions Tour. Guys stand there and say Tom Watson the other day said, you know, I hit the ball 30 yards further than I did when I was younger, and he's 55 or 56. I'm 70, I hit a drive 280 yards the other day. I never hit a ball 280 in my life. So I don't know where we're going.

The fact is that there are no more par 5s. Even that one at Baltusrol they were reaching that green.

Q. Not very many.

GARY PLAYER: But you haven't had the big guys come yet. One day they'll hit that with a driver and a 5 iron or a 4 iron the way it's going. It's going to happen. This is an absolute fact what's going to happen in the game.

Q. Just a general golf question if you don't mind, but with yesterday we've had Phil now go two straight years winning a major. What do you think he's capable of now? What do you think two years in a row with a major does for him?

GARY PLAYER: The man is awfully talented. When he learns to drive it on the fairway, watch out. The interesting thing that Jack Nicklaus pointed out to me at Augusta this year, I was oblivious to the fact, Jack said the leading five players in the world, not one of them are in accuracy off the tee in the top 100. I said, Jack, it's impossible. He said, "well, go check." We checked, and not one of them were in accuracy off the tee, which is a big shock to me.

I must say that I think Phil Mickelson's temperament, as he displayed, his patience and his temperament last week was fantastic, and I mean, the shots he hits out of the rough. One thing I will say is this: If I was a tournament sponsor now there's only one way to go. The only defense we have today is to have rough that high. Then you give a man like Fred Funk a chance to win a tournament. He has as good a chance as anybody then because he can hit it down the fairway.

And after all, the only shot in golf where you have a perfect stance and a perfect lie, the only shot is a tee shot. Even on a putt sometimes you're standing on an undulating green. But on a tee shot it's the perfect lie and the perfect stance, and yet there's no real great emphasis on the easiest shot in golf because of the abnormal distances that the ball is going. They've got to start putting heavy rough. If you drive it straight, you're rewarded. If you drive it badly, you're penalized.

Q. Does the second major spur you to something that you don't get with the first?

GARY PLAYER: Well, I think that Phil Mickelson got the monkey off his back when he won at Augusta because here's a fellow by the time he won that, he should have won two prior to his first, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him go on and win a lot more majors. He's got a very good coach in Rick Smith, and if he can just find out that little thing to get him to drive the ball in the fairways, he will definitely, definitely win more majors, no question.

Q. You had a great short game. What do you think of Mickelson's short game?

GARY PLAYER: I think Mickelson's is phenomenal, and I think that the best putter that I've ever seen in my life was Bobby Locke, but I'll tell you what, Tiger Woods is it's debatable. It's debatable whether Bobby Locke or Tiger Woods is better.

This Tiger is a magic man. It's unbelievable. You've got to do that to win major championships. You've got to do that to be a superstar. There's a hell of a difference between being a star and a superstar. I hear people all the time, "oh, he's great, he's great, he's great." It depends on what your standards are, but I mean, Tiger Woods is such a phenomenal putter, and he's got a great imagination. He and Phil Ernie, Tiger Woods and Phil have such a great imagination to play the right shot around the green at the right time. They have phenomenal short games. Heaven help the field when these guys start driving it on the fairway.

You look at the stats, how many fairways they miss, it's incredible the scores they shoot because they hit the ball so far. It's going so far. When Jack Nicklaus was around, I would love to have seen him have this club and this ball.

You know, 40 years ago I was working out that 40 years ago I was an assistant I'll take that back, 50 years ago I was an assistant at a professional golf course in Johannesburg, and I thought I've got to try and lengthen my driver, and I went to a 45 inch driver. Now, today they can use a 50 inch driver, and I went to a 45 inch driver, and it was so heavy with that old steel shaft and that big old winding grip and the club going into the head with the epoxy and the cord that you used to put down and this wooden massive head which was so heavy, you couldn't generate the speed.

Now you can get a 50, whoooosht, and Ben Hogan was a genius. I played with him at Westchester on the 9th hole, and he said to me, "Fellow," he always called me that, "one day you'll live to see a club that is 60 grams lighter," because he was very interested in the manufacturing of clubs. "One day you'll see a shaft 60 grams lighter," and we were working with metals. There will be all different metals coming to the game. I went to have lunch, and I thought, "what is this man talking about?" I couldn't quite comprehend what he was saying. Here it is today.

Q. What were those Shakespeare shafts that you played today?

GARY PLAYER: That's the one that I won the U.S. Open with. I never won God won that tournament. I'm not exaggerating, the driver at the top was that thick (indicating one inch), and it went down to that thin (indicating 1/2 inch) at the bottom. I knew nothing about golf clubs and I was trying to experiment. And then I put a marble in the head, and this went "boing," and Julius came up to me afterwards, and he went like that (indicating about how long down). Now I've seen it all. "If you can win using those clubs, son, you can win playing with a broomstick," he said. But I holed every putt in the world. Every putt I had went in the hole.

Q. Gary, there had been some criticism of Ernie prior to his injury about that he traveled all over the place and really wasn't focused on the U.S. Tour and obviously his record this year, hadn't won on the U.S. Tour, his majors hadn't been that good. Do you think that this injury and this time off is actually something that might benefit him in the game going forward?

GARY PLAYER: That's a wonderful question. To me that's the best question one of the best I've heard this morning. They're all good, but that's one of the best.

The other day I went to see him on my way back to South Africa and England, and I pulled his leg, I went into his house, and I said, "(crying) I can't get words out. I'm stuck with words. The other day you couldn't fly in your G5 to Dubai, and you had to get on a plane, and it wasn't a first class seat and you had to actually sit in the back of the plane in tourist, and you were only getting a million dollars appearance money" (laughter), then you won the tournament and you got another million dollars. Hell. I understand how tough that is, Ernie." I said, "you dog, I did that for 25 years and never, ever got a million dollars appearance money and never made a million in my life for first prize." I said, "your stories touched my heart." I was pulling his leg and he loved it.

You must understand that Ernie Els did something that I wanted to try and do. I wanted to try and be the best golfer in the world; not the best golfer in America, not the best golfer in South Africa or Europe or Japan. I wanted to try to get the best record in the world. That was my ambition, and that's what his ambition is.

I think I'm 100 percent behind it, and I don't see why the tournament in the United States I mean, in the West Palm Beach there was an article that Ernie has got to stop worrying about playing in Dubai and winning in Dubai and playing in this place and that place, and I thought, "well, that's a little bit arrogant to say that," because if you can win on the European Tour, giving the world a message, winning the last four Ryder Cups how many Ryder Cups does Europe has now?

Q. Seven of the last ten.

GARY PLAYER: That's a big message coming through to the world. A lot of us are not seeing that. If you win on the European Tour, it's tough. It's unbelievably tough, and he wants to play, and I'm 100 percent behind him. He wants to go and play and be recognized as the best player in the world, and we'll see his record when he's all finished and you've got Tiger and all the guys together you can only compare records when a man's career is finished. You can't do it mid stream. That's his desire, and I'm 100 percent behind him, and for somebody to say it's tough to do from the time Ernie Els wakes up in the morning, he doesn't put his hand on his suitcase. He's got somebody putting his suit case in the car, he gets out at the airport, walks straight onto the plane, the pilots put the baggage on or there's a baggage man you pay $20 and there's fruit and food and a chef or whatever it is and you're flying in a G5 and you're telling me that that's tiring. Man, I've done 15 million miles in an airplane with six children (laughter) and 33 pieces of baggage and three taxis and three rooms and I had to win the tournament to break even (laughter).

I mean, it's all relative. I can't go for that. We're becoming soft. We're becoming the rest are becoming soft, and you're thinking about I don't understand the thinking that you have quite honestly. I'm not criticizing it, but I'm looking at it from my point of view where I've traveled tourist, it took me 40 hours to fly to this great country because I wanted to come here and win, 40 hours. They do it now 15 hours nonstop in a G5 and a big sleeper and if you want to have a massage or whatever, you can have it. Money is no object. How the hell can you tell me you're tired or it's tough to do? I don't understand that. I went from South Africa three days ago to London, did business there, got on a plane, flew all the way to Canada, played with 150 people in one day with no chance to get used to the time change the next morning. So I had an eight hour time change, played with 150 guys, went back to Florida, did the thing I had to do, fly up here this morning, I'm going to Seattle now. I'm 70. I don't go for that tired crap (laughter). I really don't. When you're getting a million bucks and you're playing I'll tell you something, I won my first tournament in Lexington, Kentucky, and I won $2,800. Retief wins $900,000 and they don't even have a different step. $900,000. Come on, guys. You in this room understand what I'm saying.

How many people in this great country in the United States you've got to get things in perspective. It's in your mind. It's all in the damn mind. How many people in this country make $150,000 a year. Do you want me to tell you? Not 4 percent. Think of the average man sitting in his hometown, and he sees guys winning $900,000 and he's getting a million dollars and the pressman writes "he's tired and he can't perform his best." They think we're crazy. And I do, too. I think any time a man has got a G5 and all this money that he's playing for and he gets there four days before, how much do you need when you're a young man. I'm 70, I've never even had a day's rest, 150 guys I had to play with. I mean, it's in the mind.

We're going crazy, we're going soft. I do think that people must have more respect that a person wants to play somewhere the United States Tour is not the only Tour. There are Tours all over the world, and to win tournaments around the world and to be champions in those countries, you can have fierce competition and you can go to Hong Kong, and Tiger Woods is going to have to play his very best to win. If he goes to Hong Kong he'd better play well, otherwise he won't win.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by, Mr. Player. Good luck in September at the Presidents Cup.

GARY PLAYER: Thank you so much.

End of FastScripts.

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